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New York comp reforms increased indemnity payments, improved timing

New York comp reforms increased indemnity payments, improved timing

Indemnity payments for injured workers increased as much as 9% from 2007 to 2014 in New York as a result of state reforms launched in 2007, according to a report released Tuesday by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute.

In its 11th year of studying New York’s comp system, the institute’s latest report examined trends in indemnity benefits, medical payments and benefit delivery expenses from 2007 to 2016 for claims at different maturities, according to the study.

Indemnity saw the greatest changes, according to the report, which noted that “one of the key provisions of the 2007 legislation increased the maximum weekly statutory benefit” for injured workers.

Other major findings included: 

  • One factor contributing to indemnity benefit trends from 2007 to 2014 in New York was the frequency of permanent partial disability/lump-sum claims and the average PPD/lump-sum payment for those claims.
  • Since 2007, growth in PPD or lump-sum payments was at double digits at most maturities, especially for more mature claims. For example, since 2007, PPD/lump-sum payments per PPD/lump-sum claim increased 11% per year for claims at 36 and 48 months of experience.
  • Since 2014, indemnity benefits per claim were stable for less mature claims with 12 and 24 months of experience.
  • Medical payments per claim grew as much as 4% per year from 2007 to 2014, yet stabilized in 2014.
  • Benefit delivery expenses per claim increased up to 8% per year since 2007, with all “key components” — including medical cost containment, defense attorney payments, and medical-legal expenses — contributing to the growth.
  • Waiting time for initial indemnity payment improved, with 40% of claimants seeing a check within the first three weeks of filing a claim in 2016/2017, up from 27% in 2011/2012, reflecting in part “new processes of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.”





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